Yorkshire’s board has approved a controversial takeover for the cash-strapped club from a consortium headed up by former chairman Colin Graves.
It means a deal for the county from the 75-year-old, who was chair of Yorkshire from 2012-2015, has moved closer.
The club’s members will now vote on whether to approve the takeover.
“The board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club has tonight agreed to recommend the loan agreement from Mr Colin Graves,” the club said in a statement.
“The club will be sending a notice to members tomorrow [Thursday, 11 January] ahead of an EGM [extraordinary general meeting] which will outline the details of the offer as well as the resolutions and rule changes that are required to be ratified by members at the EGM.”
The EGM will be held at least 21 days after it has been called.
Graves has previously denied knowledge of any racist behaviour during his time at the club.
However, he was criticised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year after suggesting some incidents were “banter”.
Alex Sobel, the Labour MP for Leeds North West, said: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club has admitted the racism prevalent at the club exposed by the brave testimony of Azeem Rafiq and rightly set up a whistleblowing helpline and investigation into the cases raised.
“Mr Graves has dismissed what the club has admitted, describing it as banter. I am very concerned that we would lose the progress we have made under a return by Mr Graves and would need not just a statement recanting his views but full commitment to create a club for the whole community.”
Yorkshire has been seeking fresh investment since losing sponsors over its handling of the racism scandal, while it also had to agree compensation packages with sacked staff who won claims for unfair dismissal. The ECB initially withdrew Yorkshire’s right to stage lucrative international matches at Headingley and only reinstated it after major governance changes were enacted.
Last year, Yorkshire revealed it needed to repay £14.9m to the family trust owned by Graves, one of its major creditors since a financial bail-out in 2002.
The club’s management told staff that they were “seriously considering” the deal with Graves’ consortium, having previously been linked with a rescue package from retail billionaire and former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. It is expected that Graves would be reinstated as chairman.
Charity Sporting Equals said his return would “make a mockery” of victims of racism.
But Yorkshire insisted a “rigorous process” by the board had been conducted “to ensure the club stays operational”.